Borders Up!: Eastern Europe through the bottom of a glass (Paperback)
One would assume that with the collapse of Communism, East Europeans would drink much less than before. A democratic society should surely be able to provide many more means of escape than alcohol - books, free press, foreign travel and the cornucopia of consumer goods.
The reality, however, is very different; drinking in the post-communist Eastern Europe has increased dramatically since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and most of the new democracies of Europe came top of the list of the world's fastest-growing nations following the fall of the iron curtain. Coincidence? Paradox? Curious historic aberration? Or a logical result of years of social turmoil, lies and double standards that have created a vacuum in people's souls, a spiritual emptiness which spirits alone can fill?
Vitali Vitaliev spent eleven months trying to answer these questions travelling around Eastern and Central Europe, a journey through drinks - vodka and beer, palinka and slivovitz, zubrovka and Riesling, Tokaji and cabernet sauvignon. The result is this book: a sharp and sardonic travelogue that is both informative and very, very funny.